Students grow facial hair to benefit men’s health

Nicole Morris, Cynic Correspondent

November is not just a month for frost and Thanksgiving, but a month for grabbing razors and embracing Movember.

During this month, people can participate in both Movember and No Shave November to raise awareness around health issues, according to a Nov. 2014 Daily News article.

According to the article, charities ask men worldwide to put down their razors and grow out their whiskers Nov. 1 through Dec. 1.

For No Shave November, money normally spent on shaving needs or that sharp haircut should be donated to charity instead, the article said.

On the other hand, Movember encourages men to cultivate a moustache for prostate and testicular cancer, the Movember Foundation website said.

The international facial hair trend has its origins in a Seven Nightly News story that aired in 1999 about 80 South Australian men who grew mustaches throughout the month of November.

The men used their beards to raise money for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, coining the term “Movember.”

The phenomena gained traction in 2009 when the Matthew Hill Foundation began using No Shave November as a way to raise money and awareness for cancer and other men’s health campaigns, their website said.

Phi Mu Delta fraternity has brought the Movember movement to UVM’s campus with tabling sessions every Monday in November from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Davis Center.

“Anyone can join Movember,” sophomore and PMD member Jamie Benson said.

“We are specifically seeking to raise awareness for men’s mental health, cancers and preventable illnesses through pins, move goals with the foundation’s fitness tracker, and of course, the facial hair,” Benson said.

PMD’s weekly tabling sessions will culminate in a larger finale during the last Monday of November, where the highest fundraisers and best grown beards will be declared, Benson said.

“I tried Movember last year,”  first-year Len Robertson said, “It had seemed like a good idea at the time.”

But, Robertson’s expectations on the task of beard growing fell a bit flat when he tried it, he said.

“I typically have to shave my face everyday to not look scruffy,” he said.

Changing his shaving patterns for this first time, Robertson was surpsised by the results, he said.

“After the month of not shaving, all I had was a nasty neck beard and the start of a creepy mustache,” he said. “I looked gross and not at all like a lumberjack.”

The No Shave November Foundation suggests growing out whatever hair one can grow, be it on the head, legs or armpits.

On the other hand, body hair on women is still stigmatized, making a no-shave policy a difficult decision for some.

The amount that even a strong beard-grower can develop in one month is often overestimated.

The average facial hair grows just under half an inch per month, with a full beard taking between two and a half months and six years to grow, depending on the person, according to Beardaholic’s website.

Despite these discrepancies, Movember’s wide array of hair related participation options give ample opportunity for anyone to help support their cause, Benson said.

According to Benson, pin wearers around campus spread the name of No Shave November and its affiliated charities throughout Burlington.

Hair or no hair, students can support men’s health and cancer patients during the month of November.